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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pat Buchanan began the new year by again sounding the alarm on the falling birthrate in America.
A Catholic, Buchanan is a conservative commentator with decades of experience in politics. In a Jan. 3 blog post, he criticized the mainstream media for focusing on "climate change" at the turning of the decade: "The gravity with which Western elites view the crisis is not shared by the peoples for whom they profess to speak."
"For many First World countries," he added, "there are more compelling concerns. High among them is population decline, and, if birth rates do not rise, the near-extinction of many Western peoples by this century's end."
Citing the collapsing birth rate in Japan, Buchanan claimed countries in eastern Europe face an ever-worsening crisis of population shrinkage:
We are talking here about what historians, a century hence, will call the Lost Tribes of Europe. And if a people has ceased to replace itself, and the national family is dying out, it is difficult to generate alarm over the slow sinking of the Maldives into the sea, the melting of the polar ice caps, or the fact that Greenland is getting greener every year.
Buchanan was White House communications director for President Ronald Reagan in 1985–1987, and has run repeatedly in the GOP primaries for the presidential nomination.
For years, Buchanan has been warning about the threats of de-Christianization, falling birth rates and mass migration, most notably in his book The Death of the West.
Church Militant attempted to contact Buchanan for further comment but received no response as of press time.
According to a government estimate, Japan's number of births in 2019 was below 900,000 — a historic low since records began more than a century ago.
Employers in Japan are looking closely at automation and robotics to fill the gaps in the shrinking workforce. It is expected the number of people able to work will only continue decreasing in the decades to come.
In 2018, a government study revealed Japanese adults are having fewer children than ever before. The raw number of children under 14 years of age hit an all-time low of 15.5 million — the lowest on record.
Contraception and abortion are among the reasons commonly cited for Japan's demographic decline.
Meanwhile, the United States' fertility rate has been below replacement level for years.
In 2018, the U.S. birthrate fell 2% from the previous year, dragging down the total fertility rate to an all-time low of 1.73 births per woman. America's raw number of babies born in 2018 was the lowest in 32 years, at about 3.8 million.
Population decline — shrinkage in the raw number of people — has not yet come to the United States. As of press time, the U.S. Census Bureau's Population Clock estimates a net gain of one person every 19 seconds. But population decline remains one of the chief problems facing many European countries.
According to U.N. estimates, many nations in Europe will likely experience devastating shrinkage in the next 30 years.
In October, Business Insider highlighted the 20 countries with the gloomiest population forecasts for 2050, using U.N. data. Eighteen of the 20 were European nations (counting Georgia), and the remaining two were Cuba and Japan.
Many of those facing population decline are nations in Central and Eastern Europe that were once under Soviet control. Included in the list were Hungary and Poland, countries with a sizeable Catholic presence:
In recent years, both Hungary and Poland have introduced welfare programs that incentivize getting married and having large families. Some dispute the effectiveness of these programs, but initial signs suggest the incentives may be working in Hungary, with an apparent uptick in the total fertility rate.